The Aspen Lake Series
Kate Logan needs a safe haven, a place to start over after her modeling career disintegrates in scandal. But her hometown of Aspen Lake isn’t the sanctuary she hoped. Her vow of a low-key life is disrupted by a break-in and other strange happenings at her boutique. As the chair of Aspen Lake’s Gothic Revival Festival, she’s also drawn the ire of a religious fanatic. Kate is up to her stilettos in drama and intrigue including one sexy carpenter who’s determined to get in her way.
New to town, Seth Stone is seeking inspiration and solitude to concentrate on his art. Short on funds, he agrees to take on a second job restoring the damage to Kate’s Closet. Trouble erupts along with the desire to get to know Kate better. When he’s used as a pawn in a smear campaign against his gorgeous boss Seth fights back. But now the whole town is watching. Including the man determined to further his own agenda. Time is running out with nowhere to hide.
“So, what happened?”
“Someone broke in early this morning. The alarm went off around four a.m. Grace has been here ever since. I was out of town.” Saturday nights she attended sobriety meetings in the city. Safe in the knowledge she wouldn’t bump into any other attendees in the line-up for gas, or at the café, or selecting fruit at the grocery store.
A two-hour drive each way meant she usually stayed overnight at her aunt’s house. But this time she and Lily had shared a hotel room and a rare girls-only weekend. She’d dropped her off for her early morning Sunday flight and rushed home. “I didn’t get back until just a little while ago. The police have come and gone.”
She stopped inside the doorway and gestured at the mess.
“Wow.” He ran a hand over the damaged frame. “What did this?”
“No shit.” He spared her a glance. Gave her a questioning lift of his chin. “How are you holding up? You okay?”
“I wasn’t here.” That’s all he, or anyone else, needed to know. “As you can see, the place is a disaster. The door, doorframe, the shelving units, the display case out front are the worst of it. I’ll need a desk.” She didn’t bother mentioning the missing inventory. All of it in the same one or two sizes, which meant they were looking for someone with a thing for size eight female clothing.
Splinters of wood, shards of glass, and Kate’s last remaining scrap of poise crumbled under the heavy tread of his steel-toed boots. Seth eyed the broken lock, gave the door a yank, and sent it crashing to the floor.
Kate jumped back.
Next, Seth ripped off a shattered section of doorframe and tossed it into a growing pile. “They knew to take it out close to the deadbolt. Knew the doorjamb would give way. These old deadbolts only extend so far and presto you’re in. Would have taken some heft to do it though.”
So, a hefty axe-wielding maniac with a thing for women’s clothes. Perfect. That didn’t make her want to chug a giant rum and coke at all. “Can you fix it?”
“Sure.” He dug around in a couple of pockets before pulling out a measuring tape.
Good Lord, his cargos had more pockets than she had good intentions. But at least he was giving her some good news. “Today?”
“The door? Yeah. I’ll need to go back and get supplies: a door, new locks. Obviously.” When she didn’t smile back, he nodded his head in what could only be defeat. “Right. I have a couple of things I need to finish up there, and then I’ll be back.” He fingered a torn wire. “Nothing I can do about the alarm. You’ll have to contact the company. But you’ll have a door in by the end of the day. The rest of it is going to take some time.”
He dived back into his pockets and came out with a little pencil. More searching for what she assumed was paper to write on with no luck. She flipped open her organizer, pulled off a piece of paper and handed it to him. “How much is all this going to cost me?”